MIDDLETOWN, March 16 – Avon swimmer Kyle Emery finished second in two events and swam on a relay team that finished second to help the Avon High boys swimming team to their best-ever finish at the Class M championship meet Thursday at Wesleyan University.
The Falcons finished sixth with a school-record 465 points. Six Falcons finished in the top six of their respective events and two relay teams finished in the top three of their respective events.
Emery, Andre Richard, Brendan Downey and members of the 200 medley relay earned All-State honors.
“We swam great,” Avon coach Diana Cesaro said. “It’s been a great season.” The Falcons went 13-2 this season and won the CCC North White title with a 5-0 record. They also had a dominating victory over Wethersfield, 363-201, to win the CCC North White championship meet.
Twice, Emery finished second by less than a second. In the 100-yard freestyle, Emery swam a season-best time of 48.82 seconds but it was 0.78 of a second behind the pace set by Class M champion Sam Stewart of Weston in 48.05.
In the 100 backstroke, the race was even closer. Hand sophomore Christopher Wu beat Emery by 0.20 of a second to win the state title with a time of 53.03 with Emery finishing second with a season-best time of 53.23 seconds.
Emery won a third silver medal with Avon’s 200-yard medley relay team (Emery, Alec Traktovenko, Laura Pringle, Andre Richard) that finished second with a school record time of 1:40.97. Weston, which won the Class M championship, easily won the race in 1:36.19.
The Avon team broke the record set in 2014 by Emery, Billy Holloman, Riley Strassner and Devon Chambers (1:42.95). Avon’s silver medal in the 200 medley relay was the best finish by a Falcon relay team at a CIAC championship meet.
As a member of the relay team, Pringle became the first Avon girl to earn All-State honors in the boys swimming season and the first Avon girl to qualify to compete at the CIAC State Open in the boys swimming season. The top two relay teams and top three individuals in each event earn All-State honors.
Since Avon doesn’t host a swimming program for girls in the fall, girls are welcome to swim on the boys team during the winter season but they must meet the same qualifying standards as boys to compete in the Class M and State Open meets.
Avon’s 200 yard freestyle relay team (Max Jaremko, Zaire Griffin, Justin Arroyo, Andre Richard) also broke their own school record by taking third in 1:31.78. They broke the record they set a week earlier at the CCC North White championship meet (1:33.32). Weston won the event in 1:29.55 followed by Notre Dame-West Haven in 1:29.80.
Richard, a sophomore, also earned All-State honors with his third place finish in the 50 freestyle with a school record time of 22.54, breaking the old mark set by Zac Cesaro (22.65) in 2012. Watertown’s Arion Mete (22.12) and Weston’s Charles Palsho (22.25) finished ahead of Richard.
Diver Brendan Downey became the first diver since Jon Feldman in 2007 to earn All-State honors by finishing third with 372.65 points. Hand’s Tianyi Zeng (636.25) and Weston’s Liam Simmons (382.75) were first and second, respectively.
In the 500 freestyle, freshman Adam Zapatka finished fourth with a season-best time of 4:51.45, good enough to earn an invitation to the State Open championships.
Max Jaremko took fifth in the 200 freestyle in 1:47.92 and earned an invitation to the State Open. Also finishing fifth was Avon’s 400 freestyle relay (Jaremko, Zapatka, Zaire Griffin, Emery) with a time of 3:23.34.
Since the top 24 swimmers in each event earn points, several Falcons helped Avon earn their record 465 points. The CIAC has been scoring the top 24 swimmers in each event since 2007.
Avon had four swimmers in the 100-yard breast stroke, led by Sam Johnson in tenth place (1:03.81), followed by Traktovenko (13, 1:04.68), Jared Culbertson (15, 1:07.63) and Justin Arroyo (16, 1:08.65).
In the 50 freestyle, Griffin was 17th with a time of 23.52 seconds followed by Culbertson in 19th place in 23.72. In the 200 freestyle, Zapatka was tenth in 1:50.04.
Richard was ninth in the 100 freestyle in 50.80 seconds with Griffin finishing 14th in 52.16 seconds.
Jaremko was 11th in the 100 butterfly (57.37) with Pringle taking 19th in 59.04 seconds. Pringle was also a top 20 finisher in the 100 backstroke, taking 17th in 58.96 seconds.
In the 500 freestyle, Sarah Preleski had a season-best time of 5:23.07 and finished 21st.
As a team, the fourth place finish was Avon’s best finish in Class M. But it’s not the best in school history. In 2007, the Falcons were third in Class S.